Eddery's prayers answered as Lord Ron hangs on for victory
Paul Eddery scored his first Hong Kong winner of his three-month Club stint with a perfect rails ride on Lord Ron (9-1) in the Class Three fifth event last night. And punters playing such things as omen doubles certainly struck it rich as Brave Ron (57-1) took the next race under useful claimer Peter W.L. Ho. In another gripping finish, the Peter Ng Bik-kuen galloper got up by a head close home to beat Pleasant Win (18-1) and Champion Mascot (9-1). Trainer Ng had time to congratulate the owner and watch his apprentice weigh in before he left for Kai Tak and a flight to Ireland for this week's Goffs yearling sales. For Eddery, it was the end of a frustrating wait for a winner but he has simply not had the material with which to work. 'I am obviously very pleased and I could not have asked for a better run,' Eddery said.
'We were drawn against the rails and he jumped well for me. Basically, he gave me everything he had and we had the benefit of the rails virtually all the way.
'This win could give him a bit of confidence and he could score again.' It was another winner for first-season trainer Tony Cruz who has really settled into his new and vital role in local racing. Lord Ron is not a big horse and has had his problems in the past. Spartan (6-1) finished second and was blocked and battered about at the top of the straight. It is a moot point as to whether he would have beaten the winner but it would have been very, very close. Damien Oliver could not get daylight and the vital run when Spartan needed it and Eddery, who kept Lord Ron going all the way to the line, slipped clear for a race-winning lead. Perfect Smile (4-1), the favourite, failed to flatter while topweight Basketball Leader (5-1) also disappointed.
Brave Ron prevailed in an exciting Classes Three and Four, 2,000-metre event where Great Admiral (9-2 favourite) let punters down, despite the attentions of champion jockey Basil Marcus. Claimer Ho has many fans and he never put a foot or hand wrong in getting the rank outsider home, bringing him through in the final stages to thwart the winning hopes of Oliver, who produced Champion Mascot with a strong, late run along the rails. Pleasant Win surged through late to join the issue in the final 80 metres and nipped second spot for Philip Robinson and retaining trainer David Hill. Space Rock (7-1) is a proven front-runner and he tried to make all under Eric Saint-Martin but was found wanting in the final stages and knocked up to finish in fourth place. Trainer Ng said: 'His work had improved a lot and the price did not truly show what his chances were.'